For anybody who’s been hanging around me recently, or reads a majority of my reviews, it’s not secret that I’ve become tired of superhero movies, especially Marvel films. Every superhero movie is the same basic storyline but with a different superpower, seemingly indestructible character, or obscene villain. Marvel are the worst because every one of their superhero movies is covered with a sugar coating and takes no risks in challenging conventional superhero movie themes or even attempts to make a film that discusses deep emotional topics in any depth. Granted there are few superhero movies that can achieve this feat, with “The Dark Knight” being the only one that is able to be a crime noir and superhero movie simultaneously. Marvel films tend to be entertaining but have no emotional substance that sticks with you after the movie and follow a basic formula that makes money but creates nothing new or innovative. Marvel’s idea of innovation is “how many different superheroes can we put in one movie to get the most money.” “The Avengers” was not innovative in the slightest, and actually had annoyingly dull plot for any person that could get past seeing the plethora of action heroes on the screen fighting side by side.
“Captain America: Civil War” didn’t start well. The opening action sequence had all the major pitfalls that modern summer blockbusters have in the fact that there was just too much going on, and some of the characters that have no powers seem to be immortal. I can’t imagine Scarlett Johansson can slide off a motorcycle and just move straight into a sprint. She has to have a least some skid marks on her legs and maybe she’s more badass than I am but I would need to take at least a two minute breather after having that happen to me. I was worried this was going to be another movie that was all about action and seeing heroes fighting each other without having any relevant story, but I was wrong.
This movie has the strongest plotline of any Marvel Cinematic Universe film since “Iron Man” (excluding the X-men films). There are discussions of terrorism, public hysteria, accountability, family, betrayal, and difference in views on justice. It took the accountability discussion that “Batman V Superman” started and advanced it further, which wasn’t exactly a difficult task to accomplish. At the end, though, I was still annoyed. This movie has a two and half hour run time and it asked all these tough questions, but was scared to answer them. Instead of expanding and finding an array of answers for the themes it discusses, such as family, friendship, and betrayal, it decided to waste about forty-five minutes of run time on actions sequences that would bring in large audiences and cash the checks.
That disappoints me. We’ve all seen these actions sequences before and they rarely change from movie to movie. What we haven’t seen is an in depth analysis of the relationship between these characters, and we almost had it in this movie. Yet, we didn’t. Marvel is clearly a studio that cares more about making money than making anything of substance. “The Dark Knight” sticks with people after they watch it, but no Marvel film has done that with me except for the first “Iron Man.” I would love to see what would happen if they gave this story over to an independent studio that wasn’t concerned with making money or breaking box office records because I think we would have a much better story than what we were given. The movie is at its best when the characters are interacting with dialogue about their responsibility and place in the world, but we just don’t get enough to make this movie an incredibly worthwhile experience for me. I wasn’t upset that I saw this movie and it definitely wasn’t a waste of money, but I have no desire to see it again and I will view it as a great opportunity missed. It provides moments of good entertainment and there are strong sequences when the focus is on the dialogue, but it has too many pitfalls for me to fully enjoy it.
Captain America: Civil War (2016): 2.5/4 stars